New guidelines out as drug ruling bites

Social services and health must agree combined care plans as part of an integrated approach to dealing with dementia, according to new guidelines.

Memory assessment services should be the single point of referral for all people with a possible diagnosis of dementia, the joint guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the Social Care Institute for Excellence says.

People with dementia should not be excluded from any service because of their diagnosis and carers who experience  psychological distress should be offered talking therapy.

Health and social care managers should ensure all staff working with older people have access to dementia care training, the guidelines say.

And the document recommends that people with mild-to-moderate dementia should be offered the chance to take part in a  group cognitive stimulation programme.

The Alzheimer’s Society accused Nice of “confused policy-making” for issuing guidelines on how to improve care on the same day as its decision to restrict access to Alzheimer’s drugs donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine came into force.

Drug companies Eisai and Pfizer said last week they intended to apply for judicial review over the way Nice reached its decision to ban the drugs for NHS patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

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